“The finger of God”

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Guest, Mar 12, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 225
    (4/5/02 11:37:52 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del All “The finger of God”
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The pictures that SixTgunr has posted... has brought back a few more memories..... I have been seriously busy at work for the last few weeks....but I am writing down old memories as they come, in between tasks... Thanks SixTgunr.... the pictures of the "Hue shootout" bring back a hidden memory.... I will post that on later just for you....

    now... I present this one.....

    I know that many of you , who have been in Vietnam, either have seen the “finger” or have heard of it.

    You know, what a gunship firing at night looks like. Spooky, Puff the Magic Dragon and others……

    Yeah…… a big, long red finger of light…..

    The finger of God…..

    I had been in ‘Nam for about three months when I first heard the stories of this event.

    Never gave it much thought …. Just stories…. I had no “impression” of what they meant by the phrase…

    Many nights, just before TeT, we would sit on our star bunkers and smoke…. Knowing that no one was very close to us….

    Hell…. We have Marines all around us to the north, west and south and all the AF guys to the east…so what was the worry???

    Nothing…….. we were safe…. out of harms reach……far from the withering fire and stink of death in the south…. nothing much happening up here in the I Corp……so we sat….and drank and dreamed and joked and smoked, and some guys even smoked the camouflage (Uhhh, you know…….. )….

    Very late at night, you could sit on top of the star bunkers and watch the rockets travel down the valleys to the west…..

    A Shau… and other smaller ones….. the rockets would appear like jet propelled fireflies traveling in a straight line… then would go behind a hill only to reappear a few seconds later farther down the valley……

    Sometimes, you could see were they stopped because the flashes of light were very bright….

    But no sound….

    Never a sound….

    Too far away…..

    Just lights… very far away…..


    OH SHIT!!!!! MORTERS!!!…..

    You throw your self off on the bunkers and crab crawl into the trench line and get into the bunkers….

    CRUMP!!!..CRUMP..CRUMP….. NO ONE ever forgets that sound……

    Those that have never heard that sound… just do not understand….

    Some of us cringe and shiver… some scream and yell …. some are looking out at the minefield looking for sappers…..others…. well….. other sometimes soil themselves….they just stay in the trench line and freeze there….

    You get into position, and rack back the bolt on whatever you have… you can hear the 14’s load… and if you are close to a star bunker… you can hear the two Mg’s (60’s) and the 50 cal rack…. the sound of cranking field phones is a minor sound… each bunker is checking in…..

    The 50 lets go a burst….. everyone close looks to see where it is hitting…..

    WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU SHOOTING AT G^% DAMNIT??? yells the First shirt….

    Oh…. The gunner slipped and tripped the trigger by accident..

    G^& DAMNIT… TAPPEN… YOU”RE GOING TO GIVE ME A HEART ATTACK!!!!!

    The mortars move…. they are targeting the Marines now…. we are spared……

    The phone rings/crackles…. stay in place…. It is not over…..serious movement out to the west….

    About two miles out a fairly large force is spotted…… the Marines are lobbing Arty at them….

    The smaller force that hit us has been eliminated…. or at least scattered…. there are no more mortar shells falling

    We, kind of…. you know….. “Prairie dog it”… you know… look over the rim of the bunkers to watch….

    The Marine Arty opens up on them…… BOOM…BOOM…BOOM the bunkers shake and some of the smaller bunkers tremble and rain sand down on us…. the blasts continue almost as one constant noise….

    You see the flashes…. and a few seconds later a softer BOOM…BOOM…BOOM…..and then more flashes and a repeat of the sound.… for about 20 minutes the Marine Arty keeps it up,,,, then abruptly stops with the 55’s & 75”s and starts in with the smaller stuff……

    The enemy is hugging a hill that the shells just can’t seem to get to… it is not hitting them… they are still there…..

    This goes on for about a half hour….. we are out of our holes now…. no longer in immediate danger….

    We can see the Marines doing the same thing…..

    No one hurt… a few with cuts and bruises…. and two soiled shorts……

    But they are still out there……..

    Then….. suddenly…. A very, very bright red light literally stab’s out of the far darkness and like lightning arcs to the ground….

    Straight……

    Red……

    Bright…….

    The darkness splits and glows…. and actually seems to pulse…….

    Like a heart beat….

    It moves like a finger … slow… methodical…. just like you drawing letters in the sand on some distant beach…

    And then the sound comes………..

    VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

    Oh good God almighty!!!! Chills run down your spine… you shiver uncontrollably……

    And then the red light strikes again!!!!

    And again… after long seconds…..that haunting….. freighting sound comes again….

    VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM


    Then we hear echoes of the sound bouncing off of the low hills …. and as suddenly as it started…. It ended….

    We now can hear the aircraft tool slowly northward away from us……

    No one speaks…. no one is sure just what the hell we just saw…..

    The First shirt says…. Quietly and in a small soft voice (something he has NEVER been known for) ….

    “The Finger of God…. Writes and moves on”……

    The enemy is….. for want of a better word…

    Well….

    GONE……

    Plowed ground and red smears are all the reports state when they go out to search that part of the area in the morning….

    That was not the last time I saw that event…..

    But the first time is a lot like an electric shock…..

    There is nothing you can say to describe it…..

    It hurts…..

    But you thank whatever God you believe in…..that it was them and not you…….



    By the way… for all of you gunship guys out there….

    Thank you……



    Out……




























    I never wanted to be closer…..



    out



    Tac401
    Administrator
    Posts: 1907
    (4/6/02 12:11:37 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del
    ezSupporter
    Re: “The finger of God”
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Great story Mith, pictured it as you told it!

    Looking forward to your next also!
    TFF VMBB Email Tac

    SixTGunr
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 149
    (4/6/02 1:44:01 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: “The finger of God”
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Absolutely Fantastic Mith ..... I have seen many many times that "finger" you write of both off in the distance and "up close and personal" and there is no doubt in my mind as to the "finger" being one of many reasons why I am still on this earth today.

    Thanks for sharing & "Welcome Home Brother". Six

    "What more can I say ..... I was at the wrong place at the wrong time"

    high2fly
    *Senior Chief Of Staff*
    Posts: 847
    (4/6/02 7:31:33 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: ?The finger of God?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    OUTSTANDING!!!!! Not a doubt in my mind as to the sights and sounds as you articulated them---THE FINGER OF GOD. So very appropriate and fitting. Wilborn

    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 226
    (4/6/02 6:17:44 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: ?The finger of God?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Epilogue...........


    Some weeks later.... we asked the older First Shirt why he called it that.....


    Being ranther young and non-worldly at that time.... the words struck a cord within me, but I did not understand why....at that time.....


    This normally, gruff, nasty, grumpy, vicious bastard of a man...
    looking far-eyed at the distant hills....spoke ever so softly and recited this poem....


    “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on:
    nor all your Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it”.


    He then told us of an ancient drunken Heritic Persian... named Omar Kyayyam.... and his poems.. "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam" where his favorites....

    Wilborn.... if you are listening in.... now you know why I know about these poems and one of the reasons I could quote them so fast to you when you asked.....

    And.... thanks to you others..... I personally do not know what other name the event can be called..... but even the younsters in desert storm and now in Afganistan know what we mean when we use that term.....

    I pray that the fire stays with us and ours.......

    out....

    SixTGunr
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 150
    (4/6/02 7:47:03 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: ?The finger of God?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Not a very good one but the only one I have of Puff at the AnHoa Airstrip. He'd stop by occassionally for some additional "go juice". When he would come in or go out we never had to worry about any small arms fire from the nearby villes surrounding our base camp. THAT would have been extremely foolish on Charlies part. Good post Mith

    [​IMG]

    high2fly
    *Senior Chief Of Staff*
    Posts: 853
    (4/7/02 7:47:33 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: ?The finger of God?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Another impressionable thing I recall about nightime operations with PUFF---that one night in DaNang when, after Jonesy was killed in that old French ammo dump by a mine, PUFF was used to clear the old mine field----the delay between watching the fire hose downward from PUFF and hearing the sound. The delayed sounds washed over you and around you like a hundred elevated trains. The watching troops would cheer when there would be secondary explosions on the ground---lessons learned the hard way---DON'T ALWAYS DEPEND ON DEPENDABLE RECORDS---the mined areas had not been cleared--Jonesy paid the price, however troops still had to go in and string concertina wire---PUFF did the job because there were no more casualities from the old mined field. Wilborn

    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 228
    (4/7/02 8:48:26 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: ?The finger of God?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    yes....

    the eyes see it event....

    the mind records the event ...

    the ears hear the event.......

    the body feels the event...

    Like I said....

    one snap-shot at a time...slowly.....in sequence



    out...
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
Vietnam Memories Forum “The Fizzies incident” Mar 15, 2003
Vietnam Memories Forum “The Convoy” Mar 15, 2003

Share This Page